Staying the Course / Finishing Well -when to stop, when to re-asses
We've homeschooled for a couple of decades now, and we really believe that a personalized/mentoring approach to education is best. Homeschooling is one method to deliver that personalized education. One of the major challenges of this is when the parents attempt to do all of the education, by themselves. They can't. They run in to limits- their own education, the need to pay the bills, and a host of other things. The great thing about homeschooling, at this point in history, is that there is a plethora of options available that weren't even 5 years ago: on-line classes, Tutoring Centers, dual enrollment, etc. So, it's possible to continue homeschooling way beyond the parent's expertise.
One thing I believe has been overlooked for a long time in the homeschooling community is the first law of the Teacher is that the teacher must know the information to be taught. Look, I've taught stuff I don't know, as I'm sure everybody has. But the reality is that the kids end up knowing stuff about as well as I do. So, if I don't understand something and fumble through teaching it, my students are probably going to fumble through learning it. Of course, kids do learn on their own. But more advanced subjects, those that require critical thinking skills, such as math, logic, good writing, upper level science, are going to be difficult, at some level, for most people to learn on their own, no matter how motivated. How do you know when to keep going, and when to stop?
How do you finish well on a path that is so recently forged, and being forged, as we speak?Be willing to be creative. Be an ed hacker. Educate yourself about the options, which means stay tuned to what's going on, because the options are increasing exponentially.
Create options for yourselves and others. Please be aware, if you risk creating something, you will probably generate criticism because you didn't do it "right" or make everyone happy. Since you are NOT the happiness guru, remember that this is NOT a reflection on you. If you're called, respond and leave others entitlement and narcissism up to the Lord. As Mother Theresa and Nike so adroitly state, "Do it anyway."
Along those lines: Be willing to let others teach. Be willing to teach others. I can teach your kids how to love writing and how to write well. I don't love science experiments. Let's trade. Everybody' happy, and learning more. Synergy, Baby: 1 + 1= more than you ever thought possible.
Be attuned to your kids and be willing to cut them free from the privilege of homeschooling. One of ours declared (at the top of their lungs) mid-high school that they did not value education. This statement was reflected daily in attitude. Red flag. In retrospect, we should have enrolled them in public school the very.next.day. Abject defiance and dis-respect, along with passive aggression, need to be nipped in the bud immediately (if you can recognize it for what it is- passive aggression takes all forms), or they will fester, grow and break your heart. And probably theirs. Don't make homeschooling a god.
Don't shelter your kids from the reality of what it takes to home school. I have for-gone a professional salary for over 2 decades to invest in my children and in my children's children. Covey explains: You are not simply raising your children, you are raising their children as well, which is a solid Biblical principal. When my kids have an attitude, I let them know that homeschooling- the freedom, the home-cooked, organic meals 3 times a day, the hours of reading together, the gift of work, the difficult academics, are all possible because of what we don't have. When you choose one thing, you often release another. Those Sanballats who accuse me of cheating my kids of the privileges I had growing up are right. They have been denied some of the privileges. Along with some of the heart wrenching challenges and just plain old emotional, spiritual and even physical attacks. I count it a decent trade-off. Because my kids are growing up in a DECENT environment; and believe me, I could share some indecent stories of what I experienced that my poor deprived kids have missed. In addition to that my kids been offered incredible freedom and opportunities my husband and I never could have touched as children.
When is it time to think about different academic opportunities? When you can't actual educate your kids because of emotional or academic challenges (this one's for you, Dear Mae). I have a handful of friends with kids with unique challenges. They have thrived in a public school setting. They are getting the attention and care and resources that would be impossible to get at home. It's O.K.
When they have surpassed you academically or are going in a direction you are clue-less about. Some high schools allow dual enrollment. There are tons of on-line programs with great platforms; white boards with the teacher's on-screen. Make use of these if you can afford them. Have a garage sale or offer to write a review for them in exchange for a class if you can't (see "get creative" above).
Don't get locked in to one and only one perfect way. Inevitably, that mind-set back-fires. The only perfect way doesn't exist this side of heaven.
A well-know homeschooling speaker said years ago that he would know if homeschooling was a success if his kids grew up to home school. I disagree. I think homeschooling is a success when our kids grow up knowing how to think clearly and logically and can communicate in like manner, understand Truth and live it, and are able to make their own decisions in a way that is mature, loving and kind. But I would say the same thing if they went to public school, too. Homeschooling is a tool, a vehicle; if that vehicle becomes inefficient, for whatever reason, it's time to re-evaluate and trade it in for a more efficient model.
#1 Organize You, Your Stuff, Your Space, Your Students
#2 Show UP
#3 When Sanballet Testifies Against You
#4 The Dangers of Teaching Truth in a Post Modern World
#5 Staying the Course / Finishing Well -when to stop, when to re-asses